Community asks for transparency during moving process
Staff members from the Women’s Resources and Research Center (WRRC) hosted a community forum on Oct. 12 at the LGBTQIA Resource Center for the community to discuss the WRRC’s upcoming move from North Hall to a new, undecided location.
The WRRC, which has been located in North Hall for 40 years, first publicly announced that it would be moving in a Facebook post at the start of the academic year. According to the post, the WRRC is moving to accommodate the expansion of Counseling Services (CS), which is hiring more counselors to meet student demand for mental health services on campus.
However, some members of the WRRC and the UC Davis community feel that Student Affairs has not been transparent enough throughout the WRRC’s moving process. Many questioned why the WRRC was not informed earlier that it would need to move, as well as why Student Affairs did not have a new WRRC location already confirmed.
WRRC employees informed attendees that several locations are currently being considered for the WRRC’s new home, including the Student Community Center (SCC). While the WRRC staff believes that moving to the SCC would increase the visibility of the center, they also acknowledged that moving to the SCC would mean a decrease in square footage.
When asked about the timeline for the move, WRRC employees had few details available, but said they had requested that Student Affairs not move the WRRC until the summer.
Community members in attendance had the opportunity to share their thoughts about the WRRC’s move. Many questioned if the WRRC’s location change would be sustainable; as UC Davis continues to expand, centers like the WRRC and CS will need to continue expanding as well. Other students felt concerned that, by forcing the WRRC to leave North Hall, the UC Davis administration had pitted the WRRC against CS.
The second part of the forum consisted of a panel discussion, in which students could ask questions regarding the move to Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Adela de la Torre, executive director of the Community Resource and Retention Centers Dr. Sheri Atkinson, Assistant Vice Chancellor and chief of staff to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. Emily Prieto-Tseregounis and CS director Dr. Sarah Hahn.
Many students expressed the need for more transparency from Student Affairs during this process.
“We will do better,” Hahn said.”We have heard that communication has been a problem […] we’re working on it, and we’ll do better.”
Students also questioned why Student Affairs did not inform the WRRC sooner that it would need to move.
“There’s a number of things looking back at this that we could have done differently,” Hahn said. “We didn’t think it would come to this.”
De la Torre added that Student Affairs wanted to find another option, but ultimately, there was none.
“Student Affairs has limited control [over space],” de la Torre said. “When I asked about options […] it was clear that there are no other options.”
Those on the panel stressed that open communication would be important going forward.
“I will be in constant communication with you and others throughout the process,” Atkinson said. “You all will be driving that process and I’ll be doing whatever I can to help ease the organizing of that off of you […] I’ll share as much information as soon as I have it in a timely manner and will continue to do that going forward.”
Written by: Alyssa Vandenberg — firstname.lastname@example.org